A response to the PM’s speech on Europe this morning, words by our man in Europe Paul Haydon (works with Sarah Ludford MEP)
Britain has always stood and fought for our interests and principles in Europe. In recent years we have been the driving force behind the single market, which has created 3.5 million jobs and made the average British household £3300 better off per year. We’ve also led the way on foreign policy and global trade, making Europe a force for peace and prosperity throughout the world. Finally, we have been at the forefront of efforts to establish police cooperation across Europe, protecting British citizens from organised criminals, terrorists and paedophiles. This was not achieved through threatening our neighbours with blackmail, but through building alliances, winning the argument, and pushing for EU-wide reform.
David Cameron wants to hold other EU members to ransom in a bid to repeal the social and employment laws which give us minimum standards for annual holidays, maternity leave and working hours. Not only is there no way that other EU countries will allow the UK to undercut the rest of Europe, but this clearly would not be in the interests of British citizens.
Instead, we need an ambitious platform of reform, cutting red tape for small businesses, expanding trade with emerging economies, and ensuring that Europe remains competitive in the 21st century. We also need to make sure that Britain retains its influence and does not become sidelined as the eurozone moves towards gradual integration. The best way to achieve this is by working with our European allies, not by alienating them.